Jewel C.

Manalo
HISTCIV A54
Mr. Mark Marvin Lagos
April 3, 2014

Egyptian Civilization

The Egyptian civilization started out in the banks of the Nile river—following the same
pattern of ancient world civilizations. Unlike the geography Mesopotamian civilization, the
ancient Egyptian civilization was not susceptible to invasion because of harsh desert and the
Mediterranean sea. However, the two civilizations share the same challenge of sustaining their
sedentary lifestyle due to the fact that the state of the land in their territories are mostly not
suitable for agriculture. With this, comes the amazing engineering feat done by the two ancient
civilizations to irrigate their lands through diverting the water in the river that sustain their
society.
Focusing on the Egyptian civilization and their almost impossible engineering and
architectural contributions to the ancient world, we can see that their endeavor in this field is
probably the most revolutionary and innovative in terms of the difficulty of constructing such
landmarks. The construction of the Egyptian pyramids is one of the many examples that, in my
opinion, is worthy of mentioning as the most important contribution of the ancient civilizations
to the modern world in terms of architecture and engineering. The amount of hard work and time
invested by the ancient Egyptians to construct such massive piece of work that the main purpose
is to appease the Pharaoh after he dies is a seemingly absurd idea in the present but only shows
the complexity of the life in Egypt during the ancient times. It highlights deep connection to the
concept of afterlife that not only ancient Egyptians believe in to, but also evident in the thinking
of the ancient Chinese emperors. In my understanding of the lesson, the pyramids also represent
the written history and way of life of the ancient Egyptians. With the discovery of the Rosetta
stone by Pierre-François Bouchard and the expedition championed by Napoleon Bonaparte, the
world witness the discovery of the missing link of the worlds disconnected by time and history.
Although very political in its nature, the expedition to the foreign lands by the struggling powers
in the west proved to have been fruitful and it led to a more deeper understanding of the ancient
civilizations. However, I would like to see the day when the Rosetta stone (together with the
Parthenon Marbles) be brought back to its respective owners—Rosetta stone to Egypt and the
Parthenon marbles to Greece. The hubris of the British government and their audacity to keep
something from the respective owners of these significant historical artifacts are something that
does not deserve a reverence of any kind.
In conclusion, the contribution of the ancient Egyptian civilization to the modern world is
incomparable to any ancient civilizations that existed in the world. Their culture and the traces
they left in this world still fascinates and sparks curiosity in the minds of the people interested to
know the roots of the modern world and how it became to be as it is today with the important
contributions of the Egyptians.

Islamic Civilization

Through the thorough discussion of the ancient Arab civilization, I was able to fully
understand one of the world’s most influential civilization, and the roots of its stigma that
certainly causes uproar and wars that they fight up until today. Furthermore, the discussion also
enlightened some of the reasons of the practices of Islam—one of these is the strict adherence to
not eating pork meat when you practice Islam. In terms of its development as a civilization, the
Arab civilization did not flourished near in the proximity of a river—deviating from the pattern
that constantly appeared in other ancient civilizations. The little arable land (oasis) in the desert
helped the Arabs in sustaining their agricultural needs as well as broadening their trade routes
around their territory. The Arabs are known to have been traders that helped them later in
spreading their culture and Islam.
The Arab civilization can be traced together with its major contribution to the world
today—its Islamic roots. The rise of Islam in the Arab world united most of the tribes in the
territory and eventually spread through Europe and Asia. It is the fastest spreading religion in the
present, converting millions of people into the belief of one god, Allah. The stigma of Muslims
as violent people rose from the series of wars that can still be witnessed in the present, fighting
for belief and for brotherhood. I remembered a political science theory that suggests that in a
post-Cold war world, people’s cultural and religious identity will be the main cause of clash or
conflict between civilizations. This theory entitled The Clash of Civilizations proposed by
Samuel P. Huntington in 1992 best explains what has happened after all the major wars the
world has witnessed in the dawn of the modern world. For me, without understanding the root of
the Islamic civilization, one would be quick to judged based on one’s preference and culture.
And this is dangerous because the world is not separated by cultural boundaries anymore.
Globalization made it possible for people to communicate and share new ideas and religious
stance, for instance. With that, the knowledge to know the history of how Arab civilization
became powerful today is vital to be able to know what the world has become after all the
significant revolutions of this planet.
Finally, I was deeply enlightened by the discussion. This topic was not discussed to me in
high school’s World History subject unlike the previous civilizations we discussed so I was
happy that I get to know all the information and cleared the misconception I admit I have before
taking this class.